Dayton Metro Library features new American artists

It was the “exploding head” emoji that inspired artist Guustie Bouten Alvarado to create the fused glass artwork on display at the Dayton Downtown Subway Library.

Alvarado is one of the New Americans whose work is featured in an ongoing exhibit on the second floor of the Downtown Library. The exhibition, which also features works by Dayton International School students, will be on display until December 31.

When she heard about the call for artwork for the library’s New Americans art exhibit, Alvarado thought of emoji. She emigrated from the Netherlands in 1981 and says she and her husband – whom she met when he was a student at the University of Dayton – returned to the Netherlands in 1998 because she had the homesickness. “Then we came back here because my husband, a Colombian immigrant, was homesick for the United States,” she says.

The attraction between two countries is reflected in the glass piece that Alvarado calls “mul-ti-cul-tur-al”. “I try to show the cultures hidden inside the mind of an immigrant, a whole world that is not seen by non-immigrants,” she says, referring to her piece of fused glass. affixed to a painted background. “When I saw the emoji with the brain exploding, that’s exactly how I sometimes feel as an immigrant. When I’m in Holland, I’m not Dutch anymore; when I’m in America, I’m not not like a real American. It’s like there are two cultures in my head, like I’m fragmented. I almost believe that every immigrant has a hidden culture in their brain. It doesn’t matter how long I live here , my culture will always be there and will define me.

ExploreDowntown Dayton Radisson could become a Hard Rock Hotel

Gabriela Pickett plans programs

Gabriela Pickett, the Dayton Metro Library’s newest American specialist, coordinates the art exhibit and is also responsible for supporting the library’s 17 branches. “My role is to provide support to immigrants by promoting equity and access to resources, including teaching English as a second language,” she explains. “I also empower people by facilitating cultural celebrations that allow them to experience their own culture and simultaneously enhance the host community.”

Pickett, who emigrated to the United States 33 years ago and calls Dayton home for 22 of them, says she hopes to be the thread that ties the cultural fabric of Dayton together and makes it a much more colorful community. .

In addition to three ESL classes each week, Pickett says the library and its branches have hosted everything from immigration law clinics and storytelling exchanges to a World Refugee Day.

Other Featured Artists

  • Yulia Goncharouk once lived in the Kyiv region of Ukraine. “When the war in Ukraine broke out, our region suffered from the advances of Russian soldiers,” she says. “Our region was bombed and many people were tortured and died. Goncharuk, who escaped with her 11-year-old son, Dennis, arrived in the United States in April. Mother and son are depicted in the library exhibit. She specializes in alcohol ink; his son works in acrylics. She says she loves painting abstract with flowing inks because of the many ways she can use colors and create beautiful art with different shapes. “These inks are very fluid and thin and I immediately loved how they form brilliant ridges and lines when the different ink colors come together.”
  • Martha Jeannette Rodriguez, who came to the United States in December 2003 from Colombia to seek political asylum, has three plays on the show. “It was hard to leave the country I knew and loved,” she says. “Art helped me express my ideas and emotions in a visual language that could be universally understood in a new country. Nostalgic for the natural beauty of the country that he missed, Rodriguez began with paintings in bright colors and textures. Later, she began making sculptures in clay, foam, plaster and aluminum with subjects ranging from Colombian legends and the political climate to music, dance and “messages from God”. Says Rodriguez: “They all serve as archetypes to express the values, emotions, passions, beliefs and philosophy of life that fill my soul.”
  • Cesar Vega Estiller capture Fall In The Miami Valley” in his oil on canvas. Born in the Philippines, he moved to the United States in 2014 and served in various positions for 22 years with the United Nations, particularly in many African countries plagued by conflict and poverty. His art, he says, reflects his appreciation of the beauty of each country in which he traveled and lived.
  • Elimar Runza came to Dayton from Venezuela just three months ago. One day at the library, she heard about the upcoming art exhibition and decided to submit three pieces. She says one of them, ‘Cognitive Storm,’ symbolizes the storm her head sometimes goes through with so many thoughts coming at once.” I feel like I need to paint the storm to to be able to visualize it and deal with it,” she explains.
  • At Samaneh Faramarzi the paintings are often influenced by famous poets from his homeland, Iran. “Each painting contains a poem without any words,” she says.
ExploreA new Italian restaurant will open in Dayton Arcade

International students will participate

A large mosaic of artwork made by students in grades four through eight of the new Dayton International School at Residence Park was submitted by their art teacher, Judy Campbell White. “Between 40 and 50 of my students used a circular shape to create their own ideas and express how they felt,” she explains. “Then we pieced it together into one big collaborative piece.” Its students speak several languages ​​and come from all over the world, including Congo, Uganda, Colombia, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia and Afghanistan.

High school students Lina Maria Gil Sanchez from Colombia and Nicolle Rodriguez Lobo from Costa Rica will also be represented in the show.

“I love expressing myself through art because I don’t always feel comfortable communicating my feelings through words,” says Nicole. “I prefer to express myself through drawing and painting because it’s more natural for me than talking about my emotions. She exhibits a watercolor of butterflies. “At first, I just wanted to let off steam, so my drawings had cold, dark colors,” she notes. These days, she says, she paints more colorfully, expanding her subject and painting with materials she hadn’t used in the past.

Lina says she is inspired by everything around her. “I am inspired by every situation I find myself in – from the pastures, to the sky, to the rain, to the trees. For me, nature is everything – just like love.” Lina explains that the person depicted in the one of his drawings can see through one eye, the other eye is hidden.” It’s almost like showing that a person can be part of reality, and that part of that person will also always remain hidden “, she explains.

An enthusiastic Pickett says, “My work is proof that today’s libraries go beyond books. We pay attention to the ever-changing needs of our new community and try to meet them.


What: New Americans Art Exhibition

Where: Dayton Downtown Subway Library, 215 E. Third Street. The exhibit is on the second floor of the library, next to the community hall.

When: Until December 31. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; From 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Closed for holidays.

Car park: Free underground parking is available.

For more information:

Consult the library’s quarterly magazine which announces special events: dml-aug-oct-mag-2022.pdf (

Comments are closed.